AG asked to investigate unlicensed prison medical director after board avoids decision

The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners stated that it does not have authority over Dr. Kevin Williams, the Medical Director of the Nevada Department of Corrections. A screenshot from a 2020 Tennessee Department of Corrections video shows Dr. Williams.

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The Nevada Board of Medical Examiners recently concluded that it does not have jurisdiction over Dr. Kenneth Williams, the medical director of Nevada’s prisons. Despite practicing medicine without a license since September of last year when he joined the Department, the board was unable to take any action against him for this violation.

In February, The Current reported that Williams, who held the position of medical director for Tennessee’s prisons, did not meet the minimum requirement specified in the state’s job advertisement – a medical license in Nevada. Engaging in the practice of medicine without a valid state license is considered a felony.

According to William Quenga, Assistant Director of the Nevada Department of Corrections, he confirmed on February 22nd that the individual in question is currently in the process of obtaining his medical license and is collaborating with the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners.

Williams was hired by NDOC Director James Dzurenda, who was appointed to his position by Governor Joe Lombardo. Despite numerous requests for comment, Lombardo has chosen not to respond. It is worth noting that the members of the Board of Medical Examiners are appointed by the governor.

Edward Cousineau, the executive director of the board, stated that Williams submitted his application for a medical license on December 28, 2023, which was four months after he started working as the medical director at NDOC.

The board’s Chief of Investigations, Ernesto Diaz, informed prison doctors who filed complaints in a letter dated March 4 that the board has initiated an investigation.

According to Diaz, once the initial phase of the investigation is completed, the case will be brought before the Investigative Committee (IC) of the Board. The IC holds meetings four times a year.

In a recent interview with The Current, Cousineau was asked about the board’s limited authority when it comes to unlicensed physicians.

Cousineau stated that they have no jurisdiction but did not provide further details on how the board could investigate Williams due to this limitation.

On March 22, Diaz responded to the prison medical providers who had filed complaints, stating that the allegations mentioned in their complaint did not amount to a violation of the Nevada Medical Practice Act. Diaz clarified that since the individual in question was not licensed under the Board, the Board had no authority to intervene. Diaz assured the providers that their complaint would be forwarded to the Attorney General’s office for a thorough examination of the information and alleged violations.

Attorney General Aaron Ford has not responded to requests for comment.

Quenga from NDOC declined to provide any comment on the matter.

‘Rules for thee and not for me’

The Nevada Department of Corrections has a clear mission: to protect society by ensuring that offenders are kept in safe and humane conditions, while also preparing them for a successful reentry into society. According to the department’s website, they operate as a unified team and take pride in their reputation as leaders in the field of corrections.

According to Athar Haseebullah, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, the fact that Williams does not have a Nevada medical license is a cause for concern.

According to a statement given to the Current, the most common grievance about Nevada prisons revolves around allegations of medical neglect or inadequate medical care. The Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) and the state are also accused of procuring execution drugs from sources without proper consent, highlighting a “rules for thee and not for me” mentality exhibited by the government. This approach is deeply concerning and raises serious ethical questions.

Several providers have stated that Williams stopped chairing the department utilization review board meetings after the story was published in February by the Current. However, he has still been practicing medicine by dictating treatment protocol.

According to an unnamed provider, Williams continues to exert his authority and make the lives of our prisoners unbearable. The provider expresses concern over Williams’ habit of denying requests for medical treatment. The provider adds that it is the staff who have to inform the prisoners that their requests have been denied, leaving them to deal with their health issues without proper care.

The provider questioned, “Why is he allowed to keep doing this without a license, while the rest of us had to go through the process of obtaining one?”

Williams does not have a license from the state’s Board of Pharmacy, which requires a Nevada medical license beforehand.

The investigation into the unlicensed prison medical director has been referred to the Attorney General by the Board.

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MBS Staff
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